Advances in the Treatment of Hyperhidrosis - Episode 2

Impact of Hyperhidrosis on Social Life

Brittany Estrin: Personally, I classify it as a medical condition. And my friends and family have grown to see it as that. At first, they didn’t really understand how bad it was. But the older I got, I felt more comfortable explaining things to them and how I felt and what I was going through. So, as of right now, they all consider it a pretty big deal and an actual medical condition. So, that makes me feel a lot better.

Hyperhidrosis has impacted my life by making everything more difficult than it normally would be without having this condition. I have to make sure that I always have napkins on me. I have to make sure that I have things to wipe my hands on. I don’t like to wear certain shoes because my feet sweat so bad. I don’t like to get into different situations. I like to avoid big crowds because it makes me nervous. I think that they’re either going to see my sweat or smell me. It’s just changed my whole life. Anything to do with social situations, I just don’t really like it.

Hyperhidrosis has affected my work life a lot. I have to watch what I wear as far as, like, a uniform. I used to work at a parts store, and the uniform was a red shirt, and I always hated wearing the red shirt because you could see the sweat through it like immediately. So, I’ve always had to wear several different shirts underneath my shirt, so hopefully it would absorb the sweat before it would show. I don’t like to use my hands. Like when I shake people’s hands, I don’t like to do that a lot. I try to avoid human contact as much as possible. Also, I don’t like the different shoes that we would have to wear at work because my feet would sweat and it would make it miserable throughout the day. Because if I wear a leather shoe, it just sweats really bad. So, it just makes the whole situation really awkward.

With social situations, being in my 20s, it is really hard having a relationship, getting new friendships, and meeting new people. To cope with it, I have just people who I’ve gotten close to. I’ve explained to them what’s going on, and I’m like, “Certain things make me uncomfortable, so I try to avoid them.” So, my friends and family are really, really good about trying to make me more comfortable in each situation. Even if I have to go to a different situation that makes me uncomfortable, they’re really good about helping me get through it, and I’ve just tried to cope with it as much as possible by bringing along things that make me comfortable—you know, paper towels and napkins. If I’m going out, I try to wear certain outfits that look better, that hide the sweat a lot better. So, I just try to organize things to where it will work out better for the evening.